It’s important to have rules and guidelines in place for the safety and rights of both employees and the organization. Cutting corners on your employees and/or ignoring employee concerns to save costs can result in much bigger financial consequences than creating an actionable plan to meet the needs of your employees. From a loss of reputation in the community, failures in retention, to even lawsuits—neglecting your employees is arguably a shortcut to failure.
By being aware of some of the most common (or highly filed) employee complaints, employers can help create company policies that mitigate the potential for lawsuits.
Top 5 reasons employers get sued in Hawaii
Here are the top 5 reasons employers get sued in Hawaii according to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC):
According to Chapter 378 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), any employer or other covered entity is prohibited from discriminating in employment against individuals or persons because of a disability.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that it is unlawful to fire, demote, or otherwise “retaliate” against employees or job applicants because they filed a charge of discrimination, complained to their employer about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).
3. Age discrimination
Hawaii law, chapter 378, HRS, also prohibits age discrimination. All employees, regardless of their age, are protected against age discrimination. This means that even relatively younger individuals who are overlooked because they are perceived to be less qualified or skilled for an open position, promotion, raise, etc., could have grounds for a potential claim against the employer.
4. Gender discrimination and harassment
It is illegal for an employer or other covered entity to discriminate against because of gender, except where gender is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). This applies to both males and females. Another risk of a lawsuit as it pertains to gender revolves around sexual harassment. Harassment on the basis of gender is also a violation of chapter 378, HRS. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or visual forms of harassment of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment.
5. Ancestry/national origin
Per the EEOC, it’s unlawful to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of the individual’s ancestry or national origin. No one can be denied equal employment opportunity because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group, or accent. Equal employment opportunity may also not be denied because of marriage or association with a person of a national origin group, membership or association with specific ethnic promotion groups, attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples or mosques generally associated with a national origin group, and/or a surname associated with a national origin group.
Often times a company is so focused on efficiency in operations and its bottom line that it tends to neglect its greatest asset—its employees. By being proactive in addressing employee concerns, creating a work environment that exceeds expectations, and ensuring compliance with all labor laws and health and safety regulations, you can mitigate the possibility that a disgruntled employee files a lawsuit. Happy, satisfied employees are less likely to resort to a lawsuit and are more open to work out issues internally than relying on litigation.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.